March 16, 2011
Senior Alex Buscaglia is among the leaders of the No. 1 Stanford men's gymnastics team. Buscaglia won the Pan-American title in the horizontal bar over the summer and is currently ranked second in the NCAA in the event. He will be one of the main contributors next month at the NCAA meet as Stanford looks to earn its second NCAA title in three years. Buscaglia took a few moments to talk with gostanford.com.
gostanford: How would you say the season has gone so far for the team?
Buscaglia: This season has had its share of ups and downs. We've gotten some great team scores, and we've gotten some not so great team scores, but I think each meet has narrowed our focus on what we need to do to be the best team at the end of the year. It's also been an incredibly fun season. The separation between classes has really diminished in the past couple of years, creating a much more brotherly experience, at least for me. Maybe these are my sappy I'm almost done with NCAA gymnastics thoughts, but all in all, the season couldn't be going better.
gostanford: What does the team need to do to be ready to win an NCAA title in the coming few weeks?
Buscaglia: This team needs to realize how good we really are, regardless of how the rest of the year has gone. My freshman year, we went into post-season undefeated and I think that gave us too much comfort. We all know how that year turned out (Oklahoma just edged out Stanford at Maples Pavilion). This year, we are far from undefeated, but I think that could have a positive effect. We know that there are great teams out there, but we also know that we are more than just great. We have much more potential to show, and the drive to reach it that I see in the gym each day gives me, and should give my team, more comfort than an undefeated season ever could.
gostanford: You guys have an exceptionally strong senior class. What is your relationship with the other guys like? How much do you push each other to get better?
We came in as the largest class out of the three above us, and have continued to be so each year. It has been a phenomenal experience to have such a large group of guys with whom to experience the remarkable highs and devastating lows. I don't think I could have asked for anything more. In terms of in the gym, it seems like we are on the same wavelength in terms of training and goals. We have been together for so long that we know when to push and when to relax. It's a pretty unique experience that I am very grateful to have had.
gostanford: Individually, you are one of the top ranked athletes on horizontal bar, vault and floor, which is your favorite and do you think you can earn an All-America honor on each this season?
Buscaglia: It's pretty obvious that high bar is my favorite. It has been forever, so it's pretty cool to be ranked high in something you've enjoyed for so long. In terms of All-American honors, those will be icing on the cake after an NCAA title.
gostanford: You were the Pan-American champion on horizontal bar. Are the Olympics a goal of yours?
Buscaglia: The Olympics are, and have been, a dream of mine since I was a kid. The Pan-American Championships, though not World Championships, was the most prestigious competition I've ever been to. To have had the results that I did validates everything I've ever dreamed of. It makes everything else I want to accomplish seem possible. Obviously, an NCAA Team Championship is my number one goal right now. After that, my goal is to make the 2012 Olympic team in London.
gostanford: What will it be like competing against Cal on March 25, knowing it is their last home meet as a program?
Buscaglia: It's going to be an extremely emotional meet. On a much smaller scale, it will be sad for me and the other seniors because it will be our last regular season meet. On a much more intense scale, it will be, as you said, the last home meet Cal will ever have. I think we can all relate to how much gymnastics has done for us, and to see it go from a school is a travesty. It will obviously be an intense competition, due to the fact that we are both top-five teams. But I think it will create more camaraderie between the teams than any meet before. One always wants his/her competition to do as well as they can, resulting in a fair evaluation of who is the best. In this case, though, the feeling of wanting Cal to have an awesome meet will be even more heightened.